Fashion can be fickle, but there are some designers who arrive on the scene and instantly make the whole industry sit up and take notice. Ruihong Harry Xu is one such man. Despite the fact he only graduated this past summer, he revealed his second collection for his namesake fashion label, Harry Xu, this afternoon to a packed Vestibule at Fashion Scout, proving in one swift catwalk show that experience certainly doesn’t always trump talent.
Unusually for LFW, Jarylo Reborn is an entirely menswear collection, developing the youth prisoner from Xu’s graduate collection into a whole new incarnation. Adding in elements of the deity Jarylo, the Slavic god of rebirth, the designer takes his muse from troubled and beaten victim of the system to a determined and fresh-faced adult through a series of designs that both confine and define the person inside them.
Set to a foreboding soundtrack, the clothes arrived onto the catwalk, each telling the journey of the youth prisoner. Dark and overcoats with zipped pockets and barriers contrasted with pastel flowing shirts, worn open and finished with opulent gloves.
Prints and embellishments snuck onto heavier pieces, varying from subdued flowers to glittering floral beads. Overalls turned from shapeless to stylishly loose and strappy, showing off the person underneath.
Colours, too, spoke of an evolution – tone-on-tone blacks and navies gave way to dusky pinks and spring greens, before finishing the collection as cream and white shades, signalling the rebirth.
Xu’s masterly talent of telling stories with his clothes is truly astounding, especially when you consider that they are equally as functional and covetable as they are artistic. At once masculine and feminine, the AW17 collection has been designed to work as a whole, but the level of detail and care that has gone into each piece makes each one special. If this is the start of the youth prisoner’s journey in adulthood, we can’t wait to see what happens to him next.
Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photograher